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Lecture 8

Lecture 8

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Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTC61H3
Professor
Peter

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ANTC61 – LECTURE 6/8
Efficacy of Traditional Medicines & Anthropology of Senses
Efficacy of Traditional Medicines
Biomedical practitioners and models in a social and political framework
Problem of bio-ethicswhat is right and wrong?
James Waldram
- placebo as non-specific healing effectssystematically de-valued
- not easily explicable in the organic model of disease, therefore distrusted
- standard needed to be efficacious, negative value attributed to placebo, because what we cant
control is thrown out, disregarded – in the model of knowledge in bioscience
WHAT COUNTS AS KNOWLEDGE?
In this model, ethics is incorporated
- Influence of discourses!
Shamans
idea they deceive, but sophisticated and successful in placebo effects
- when they work well, help people see illness experience in a different way and perhaps experience in
different mental states and mobilize their views
Performatives (speech act) - illocutionary effect (formal word of performative act)
- effectiveness of ritual (set up and performed in appropriate ways)
Levi Straus (analyzed a text)
In a structure of a myth or healing ritual
Part of structural anthropology
Mental and emotional trauma have meaning based on occurrence, historical culture
Follows laws and processes – not clear, but the forms of myths and stories and rituals address
structures of the psyche
Similar to M.Locke, through meaning (from context) functions of the brain is changing – creates
variations in the same thing – “addressing structures
Thomas Csordas (talks to living people, story within a theoretical model)
placebo is imprecise, doesnt account for the cases where people try and doesnt work – need
more specificity
| Medical Anthropology
1
www.notesolution.com
ANTC61 – LECTURE 6/8
Efficacy of Traditional Medicines & Anthropology of Senses
He looks at spiritual healing – charismatic priest healer
Threshold casesused to assess why and how something is happening
Phenomenological approach – paying attention to lived experience, what they say they feel and
notice in their body – what it feels like to be embodied
Pays attention to the process of humans and its discourse
How narratives and meanings are important!part of human process
Not most cases are successful
Same idea as Levi Stratus because both propose meaning centered, efficacy model (interpretive!)
How do we define efficacy of traditional medicines?
Depends on the meaning we attribute to illness
Notions of success/failure vary. Therefore inappropriate to measure against something to is to
critique
Question of efficacy of traditional medicine
*Waldramclear and outlines different facets of this problem
Allen Yung?
Proposed three different ways or standards to understanding efficacy
1. Scientific
- variables controlled, results need to be repeatable, should be open to challenge
2. Empirical
- appeal to experience, dont have the kind of process of double-blind and structuralsome
effective, certain traditional medicines like Auyrvedic over years, naturalistic have results
different measures
3. Symbolic form of illocutionary effectmeaning of ritual (I am healed, but I still have my
disease”) - cant measure this, different way of thinking about efficacy – Waldram articles
No singular view of efficacy, different stakeholders with different views, and it also changes
within time...depends on their model and who you ask
WaldramQuestions to consider...
Who is the patient?Individual or community?
- sweat lodge in first nations, number of people participate and several report healing – people
report changes
| Medical Anthropology
2
www.notesolution.com

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Description
ANTC61 LECTURE 68 Efficacy of Traditional Medicines & Anthropology of Senses Efficacy of Traditional Medicines Biomedical practitioners and models in a social and political framework Problem of bio-ethics what is right and wrong? James Waldram - placebo as non-specific healing effects systematically de-valued - not easily explicable in the organic model of disease, therefore distrusted - standard needed to be efficacious, negative value attributed to placebo, because what we cant control is thrown out, disregarded in the model of knowledge in bioscience WHAT COUNTS AS KNOWLEDGE? In this model, ethics is incorporated - Influence of discourses! Shamans idea they deceive, but sophisticated and successful in placebo effects - when they work well, help people see illness experience in a different way and perhaps experience in different mental states and mobilize their views Performatives (speech act) - illocutionary effect (formal word of performative act) - effectiveness of ritual (set up and performed in appropriate ways) Levi Straus (analyzed a text) In a structure of a myth or healing ritual Part of structural anthropology Mental and emotional trauma have meaning based on occurrence, historical culture Follows laws and processes not clear, but the forms of myths and stories and rituals address structures of the psyche Similar to M.Locke, through meaning (from context) functions of the brain is changing creates variations in the same thing addressing structures Thomas Csordas (talks to living people, story within a theoretical model) placebo is imprecise, doesnt account for the cases where people try and doesnt work need more specificity Medical Anthropology 1 www.notesolution.com
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